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Exhibitions and Projects
From 21 January onwards

Permanent Collection of Art in Slovenia from 1870 Onwards

New Installation

After a successful tour of the exhibition Impressionism from Dawn till Dusk: Slovenian Art 1870 1930 in Prague and after the conclusion of other presentations, the New Wing of the National Gallery of Slovenia is once again wholly dedicated to the overview of Slovenian art from 1870 onwards. This gave us an opportunity to rearrange the installation designed at the opening of the extended Permanent Collection after the renovation of the Narodni dom Palace in January 2016.

The collection is still organised more or less chronologically and deals with art history themes. Thus, we again follow the development of Realism, the rise and passing of Impressionism, the overview of interwar art and conclude with the most important representatives of the pre-War generation that remained active after 1945. The new installation includes 161 paintings, 42 sculptures, 20 photographs and 1 work on paper.

Still highlighted are the most well-known works in the Gallery: Woman Drinking Coffee and Self Portrait in White by Ivana Kobilca, Black Woman by Anton Ažbe, impressionist landscapes of Ivan Grohar and Matija Jama, Križanke by Rihard Jakopič, The Red Parasol by Matej Sternen, Victims by Franc Berneker, Lucija in an Old-Fashioned Dress by Gabrijel Stupica. A sequence of monumental genre paintings, with Summer by Ivana Kobilca as the most striking piece, takes visitors from plein air painting Before the Hunt by Jurij Šubic to The Rakers by Ivan Grohar, which represent one of the artist’s first attempts at impressionist painting. Amongst the series, we find the first sculpture by a Slovenian artist exhibited at a Salon exhibition in Paris - The Cossack’s Dreams by Ivan Zajec.

After the renovation of the Narodni dom Palace in 2016, our goal was to make a broad presentation of the works of art kept at the Gallery; now, after a few years and hundreds of thousands of visitors, we are showcasing a more select collection of paintings and give more room to sculpture. Placed closer to exhibition walls, sculpture comes more into focus and starts a more direct dialogue with pictures. Sometimes, we can draw parallels between the theme or the visual treatment, like between A Trumpeter by Marij Pregelj and Harlequin in Love by Stojan Batič. More visible is also the connection between Slovenian writers and visual artists. The statue of Valentin Vodnik by Alojz Gangl stands in a smaller room without any other pieces, while Gangl’s bust of Josip Stritar adorns the hall with paintings by Janez and Jurij Šubic, with whom the writer and editor collaborated. Statue of Oton Župančič, a renowned modernist poet, by Franc Berneker is placed alongside the Circle Dance from White Carniola by Matija Jama. Župančič originated in that region and socialized with the painter; they often walked through the Ljubljana Moor. The bust of Ivan Cankar, the most important Slovenian writer, by Alojzij Repič, is placed alongside Grohar’s impressionist scenes that Cankar appreciated so much.

Placed in the same hall are also works of (peasant) genre scenes by the second generation of Slovenian realists. Ethnographically interesting works by Jožef Petkovšek, Peter Žmitek, and especially Ivana Kobilca and Ferdo Vesel, who shared a studio in Munich, reveal the influences of masters from the Bavarian capitol, Paris and Russia. They, like so many European artists, looked for a genuine and specific character of their nation among the common folk.

The collection features several new paintings: a sweet image of a curly boy by Ferdo Vesel, Old Deserter and Woman in a Kerchief by Ivana Kobilca, which are placed next to her Woman Drinking Coffee and reveal her working process, The Sower and symbolist visions of women in grooves by Rihard Jakopič. Some works of art are on loan from private collection and associations, or come from the collections of Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana or the Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, like The Shepherd by Ivan Grohar.

Also new is the selection of photographs taken by visual artists at the turn of the centures and kept in museum and private collections. Ferdo Vesel, Ivana Kobilca and Matej Sternen are represented by photographic studies they used for painting, and with nudes that are more readily accepted as independent works of art. Avgust Berthold is presented through the overview of his impressionistic compositions. Among the photographs, we thus find Kobila’s study for the painting Summer and Berthold’s The Sower, which was used by Ivan Grohar for his iconic canvass. All photographs are reproductions of original images or negatives, since these cannot be shown for an extended period of time due to strict conservation-restoration standards.